I sent the following email out to my school this morning:

Last night the Town of Fishers issued a proclamation honoring a unit from Afghanistan that received a Presidential Unit Citation <kind of the Blue Ribbon School award except for the shooting part>.  The unit was led by Captain John Wagner…some of you may remember John.  In junior high he was known for his spiked hair and duct tape accessories.  He was one of my “felon boys with potential” <John was busted by Jan Quick for flipping off his friend at an early in the year convo which led to John and I having a one-direction conversation>.  John was the kid that in every team or group photo would make the odd face….you know the type.

 When John was a sophomore in high school he interviewed to be a Tecumseh Imagecounselor.  I remember the conversation between Tony and I about hiring John, we almost did not hire him…sins of the past;  in the end we did and gave him boys just like him…they thrived.  John still traveled to the beat of his own drummer…in the group counselor photo everyone is in t-shirts and John was in a flannel shirt.  In his senior year he was accepted into West Point.

Last night Captain Wagner walked to the podium and gracefully deflected praise from himself to his platoon, he talked of the difference he felt they made in the lives of villagers tormented by the Taliban, he talked of the grace that his wife, Lauren Achtien (also a counselor…remembered for a complete lack of rhythm when dancing), showed during his deployments, he praised his family for their faithfulness in sending care packages to his unit, and he cured dry eyes when through choked tears and unrehearsed pauses he remembered the 68 soldiers from the 101st Airborne who died clearing the Taliban from the Khandahar Valley.  Quiet humility. 

What a great reminder for me to not judge a young boys future based on the stupid things 12 and 13 year old boys do sometimes and for me to remember that they are not fully formed; their metamorphosis not yet complete. 


 Michael J. Fassold, M.Ed.

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.  ~Kahlil Gibran